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Animal Products Act second phase comes into force

From today, new primary processing businesses of animal products need to have a risk management programme in place before they begin operating.

The second stage of the Animal Products Act, which govern risk management programmes for processors of meat, fish and other animal products, has now come into force.

Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said the new Act, which replaces the former Meat Act, was aimed at providing safe products for humans and animals to consume. Food and animal products must also be wholesome and truthfully labelled.

Existing processors have until October 2002 to have their risk management programmes in place.

Mr Sutton said the new Act removed the prescriptive nature of the former law and gives the industry huge opportunities to be innovative, flexible and produce a broader range of consumer goods. Exporters will be able to take full advantage of this flexibility as market access requirements change.

He said it sets the stage for business to take the competitive edge and enables official assurances to be given for exports.

"The Act focuses on setting outcomes. Detailed specifications are used only where necessary. The risk management system it establishes recognises the importance of consumer protection as well as New Zealand's export trade in animal material and products."

"For the past year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has been working with industry to put in place many of the tools needed by industry to develop risk management programmes."

Some animal products and processors are exempt from the new Act, or parts of the Act. Dairy produce is excluded because it is covered under the Dairy Industry Act.

ENDS

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